Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Fasting because not for

I have been reading Scot McKnight’s book, Fasting: The Ancient Practices  I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to understand and take your first steps into this spiritual discipline.

Being brought up in Pentecostal church teaching on fasting was peculiarly absent. The picture I had assembled in my mind was, if you are asking God for something, you could turn up the heat on God by fasting. Although I’m sure this was not what people believed, fasting equaled a sort of manipulation on the divine. Even a way to control the will of an allmighty God. 

Scot encourages to look at fasting in a slightly different way: A > B > C

“If one wants to see the full Christian understanding of fasting, one must begin with A, the grievous sacred moment. That sacred moment generates a response (B), in this case fasting. Only then, only when the sacred moment is given its full power does the response of fasting generate the results (C)—and then not always, if truth be told.”

Scott suggests we are not fasting FOR something but more we are fasting BECAUSE of something! Answering the WHY rather than the WHAT.

I loved the way Thomas Ryan, Roman Catholic priest, describes fasting in his book, The Sacred Art of Fasting:
“Fasting is one of the ways the servants [of Jesus] keep themselves alert in this future-oriented waiting until the bridegroom returns. To what could you liken their discreet, mysterious joy as they wait? You could say it is like the quiet humming or whistling of a choir member earlier in the day of a concert. It’s like a mother and father cleaning the house and making up the beds in anticipation of the kids’ coming home at Thanksgiving or Christmas. It’s like standing in the airport terminal or train station, waiting for your loved one to appear. It’s like a fiancée patiently addressing the wedding invitations: The long-awaited event is not here yet, but it will come, and this is necessary preparation. In each case the energy is upbeat, forward-looking, and marked by the quiet joy of anticipation.”


Unknown said...

I remember fasting in repentance at college, which led to a very close and quiet experience of God's presence for a number of days during that time. It also revealed to me some of the basic flaws in my character, which Holy Spirit has been working on only in recent times.

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